PROPOSALS to improve Church Street in the centre of Great Malvern have been criticised by the town's civic society.

Worcestershire County Council announced in November that it was considering two proposals to ease congestion in the road, one of the town's main thoroughfares.

One option is to leave the existing traffic arrangements unchanged, but carry out the enhancements such as creating public space on the Abbey Road stub, improvements to pavements and other cosmetic improvements.

The other is to make traffic on Church Street one-way downhill between Bell Vue Terrace and the Graham Road/Grange Road junction, plus the enhancements.

However, Malvern Civic Society says in its official response it is disappointed that only two options have been offered.

Clive Hooper, the society's chairman, said: "The civic society takes the view that both of these options as presented have significant limitations.

"Option Two, we believe, is heavily flawed insofar as it fails to address the ramifications of the introduction of a one-way traffic system on adjacent roads, most particularly upon Graham Road bearing in mind its use as a bus route.

"It was agreed, therefore, that Option One was preferred, but with qualifications: an overall speed restriction of 20 mph, together with a loading/unloading time restriction should be introduced; and traffic calming arrangements should also be constructed by adjustments to pavement layouts and other measures.

"It was stressed that the closure to vehicles of the section of Abbey Road from the post office to the Abbey arch should not be included, as it removed a valuable short-term parking facility."

A public consultation on the proposals ran from November until just before Christmas.

Councillor Ken Pollock, cabinet member with responsibility for economy and infrastructure, said: "The proposals for Church Street seek to improve access to shops and businesses, improve traffic flow and ultimately make the area look more appealing.

"A total of 526 people responded verbally to the consultation we ran and there were also a handful of written responses.

"All the comments we received are currently being examined and a consultation report will be written.

"That report will be published and a decision made in the spring.

"Thank you to all those who took part in the consultation and contributed their views. The comments we received will help to shape the final decision."